What are the general methods for the prevention and control of crop pests


What are the general methods for the prevention and control of crop pests

Before any attempt is made to control an insect or other organism, it should first be established that it is a pest and that it would be profitable to attempt control.

In this article, you will be acquainted with the fundamentals of crop pests and the general methods for their management and control. This post, you should be able to define and describe crop pests and  discuss the importance of Crop pest.



Definitions of crop pest

Pests are usually defined in terms of the degree and importance of crop damage or loss. Most often, the definition of a pest depends on individuals and the prevailing conditions.

Examples of the many definitions of a pest include the following:

i) A pest is any animal or plant which harms or causes damage to man, his animals, crops or possessions, or even just causes him annoyance.

ii) A pest is any organism detrimental to man, whether it is an insect, disease organism, weed, rodent, or other.

iii) A pest is any form of plan or animal or pathological agent injurious or potentially injurious to plant or plant products, livestock or man.

iv) An organism is a pest when the level of damage it causes is sufficient to warrant control measures.


Importance of Crop pest

Crop productivity in most of Africa is generally low. This is due to losses from pests and diseases. Therefore, the reduction of losses due to pests and diseases is an important element in increasing the efficiency of crop production. These losses occur from planting of the seeds through field phases of production to storage and processing.


Also read: Definitions and Importance crop pests

General methods for the prevention and control of crop pests

1. Prevention: The best way of controlling pests is to prevent their attack. To prevent new insect pests from spreading, all animals which harbour the pests must be properly treated.

2. Chemical methods: These involve the use of chemicals to kill the pest. This method is the most effective of all the methods. The chemicals are generally called pesticides and include insecticides (for the control of insect pests), rodenticides (control of rodents), herbicides (control of weds). They may be applied inform of powder or dust, smoke of spray or may even be used as stomach or contact poison. Examples of pesticides are Gammalin 20, Alfrex – T, Aldrin, Ventox 25, Phostoxin, Parathion, dual, Pimextra etc.

3. Physical: This involves use of scare crows, hand picking, use of trap, fencing and burning of debris.

4. Cultural method: This is the use of good cultural practices to enable crops escape the attack of pests. They are ploughing, proper tillage and disposal of refuse, regular weeding, planting of resistant varieties of crops, early planting and harvesting and practice of crop rotation.

5) Biological method: This involves the use of natural predators and parasites of the pests. Example is the use of snakes and frogs on insects, use of African marigaid for the control of nematodes, use of cats to control rodents in stores and use of tiny wasp to control bugs on cassava.


Conclusion on the General methods for the prevention and control of crop pests

Pest is an all-encompassing word that includes insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses, phytoplasmas, nematodes, mollusc, vertabrates, weeds and parasitic flowering plant (striga). All organisms causing damages to crops can be regarded as potential pests, but it is usual to use the term strictly for organisms causing significant damage in quantity and or quality of crops and plant produce.

In this post, we learnt about the different types of crop pests. We learnt about their definitions, categories, importance and conditions which promote their activities. The damages caused by pests and control methods were also discussed.

Also read: Photosynthesis and Its Importance

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